Antifreeze Poisoning in Dogs

Over the last few days I’ve been setting my foot out the door for Bruce’s morning walk and encountering glistening pavements and the sounds of people scraping ice off their car windshields. We’ve had some frosty, icy days lately and something tells me they aren’t about to get better anytime soon. There’s little doubt that more than a few pew people are going to be using antifreeze over the next few weeks, so pet owners need to be vigilant. Antifreeze poisoning in dogs and cats isn’t as rare as you might hope, and can have deadly consequences.

Why is Antifreeze Poisonous?

Ethylene glycol is the ingredient in antifreeze which makes it dangerous for pets and animals. It is highly toxic, but dogs are drawn to drinking it because it has a very sweet taste and smell which tricks pets into thinking it is edible. Antifreeze poisoning is one of the most common forms of poisoning in all animals, taking dogs, cats and wildlife victim by kidney failure. It is usually ingested after it drips down from a car’s radiator, or is spilt on the ground. This is why dog owners need to take great care when walking their dogs, and ensure that their dog doesn’t try to lick anything off the floor outdoors, especially around cars.

antifreeze poisoning in dogs

Symptoms of Antifreeze Poisoning in Dogs

If your dog has ingested antifreeze, you may see symptoms in as little as 30 minutes.

Antifreeze poisoning usually shows three stages of symptoms. The first stage is similar to alcohol poisoning, with the dog showing drooling, vomiting, disorientation and walking as if drunk. Seizures may begin, and the dog may also show excessive thirst and urinating.

Stage two occurs after around 12 hours of exposure, and it may looks as though the symptoms are resolving on their own. However, this is simply an indication that internal injury is occurring.

The final stage happens around 36 hours after ingestion in dogs, and is severe. Acute kidney failure takes place and the dog will show lethargy, drooling, halitosis, depression, vomiting, seizures and may slip into a coma.

What to do if Your Dog Ingests Antifreeze

If your dog has ingested antifreeze or you suspect they may have done, you need to get to a vet immediately. Do not wait for a vet to open if it is closed on a weekend or at night – find an emergency vet. The antidote is lifesaving but only works during stage one of the symptoms, meaning that time if of the essence.

Dog Jack Russell Terrier walking in winter park

Pet Safe AntiFreeze

If you have pets, or simple worry about other people’s pets and wildlife, then consider using a safer version of antifreeze. By choosing antifreeze which uses propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol, you are choosing a much safer and more pet friendly product.

About me

Joy Jewell is a London based dog obsessive and style connoisseur. Joy has worked in the fashion and beauty industry as a writer for nearly a decade, and decided to fuse her two loves – style and canines – to create Paws and Prada in 2014. If you would like to talk to Joy about anything from blogging to puppy training then drop her a line at [email protected] or find her on Twitter @PawsandPrada.


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